The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team drivers Jarno Trulli and Jenson Button will be pushing to turn good performances in the first three Grands Prix of the 2002 season into more points-scoring finishes at the San Marino Grand Prix this weekend. Last...
The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team drivers Jarno Trulli and Jenson Button will be pushing to turn good performances in the first three Grands Prix of the 2002 season into more points-scoring finishes at the San Marino Grand Prix this weekend.
Last year's Imola race saw Italian Trulli achieve success with a fifth-place finish, and he is hoping to join British team-mate Button on the championship table with a top-six finish this time.
"Last year was the first time I scored points in this race so I hope to repeat it," said Trulli. "I am pleased with the direction we are going in all areas. In Brazil, I practically completed a full race distance, and drove strongly and consistently throughout. That was an important step for me, and a good boost for my confidence.
"Jenson has finished both the last two races, and that shows the quality of the car. I know I have plenty of time to score points this season but I would like to start now! I hope to finish the race, and score my first points for Renault."
Button, who currently lies fourth in the World Championship with six points, is confident he can increase that tally as he feels the combination of driver, car and team are improving every race and the cooler temperatures at Imola will suit him.
"The R202 is a great car, and I get more confident with it every time I drive," said Button. "We have been able to find a good set-up at each circuit and hopefully that will continue here. I am pretty much expecting to finish in the points, and that shows how competitive the team is this season.
"Of course, the cooler temperatures in Imola will help me - I'm English! But it is a little easier on the car as well and we have to make fewer compromises in areas like cooling. As for the tyres, we will have to see how it works out. Michelin won here last year so I am confident they can perform strongly.
"It is a tough circuit because you have to ride the kerbs and that is not a natural thing for a driver to do. You have to crash over kerbs to be quick there, and for me that's definitely not instinctive. The track is quite narrow, and slippery, with some tricky corners: Piratella, the quick downhill left-hander, and the Variante Alta really stand out."
For Trulli, the Imola race represents one of two Grands Prix in his native Italy, but he will not be approaching this 'home' event any differently because he believes it is essential to prepare for each race in the same way in order to achieve success.
"It does mean more to me on a personal level, but I won't change anything in how I prepare for the race," said Trulli. "It is important because it is the first race in Europe, but each round offers the same number of points. You can't afford to approach any of them any differently."